West Australian-based live export shipper, Wellard, is to send its first consignment of beef cattle to China from south eastern Australia.
About 2000 head will be supplied to Rongcheng HCMH Trade and Service Company, a subsidiary of the Tai Xiang group which specialises in processed and frozen food products.
Wellard’s managing director, Mauro Balzarini, said although the shipment would be relatively small, it was the largest consignment of this type organised so far by Australian exporters.
“It represents a very significant step in the company’s implementation if its strategy for China,” he said.
The company has not yet specified when its consignment will depart Australia or from where.
The sale contract is also still subject to various conditions and receipt of a deposit and completion of letter of credit requirements.
The cattle would be quarantined on arrival in China and then processed in a purpose-built facility which has been accredited under Australia’s Exporter Supply chain Assurance Scheme (ESCAS).
“We have been working very hard to develop the china market for a long time and I congratulate Wellard’s China team, Particularly Scot Braithwaite, Bernie Brosnan and Eva Fu for their fantastic marketing effort,” Mr Balzarini said.
He said the Chinese market offered big potential for Wellard and the Australian cattle industry in general.
He was confident the first shipment would pave the way for more regular trade and live exports to China.
This would benefit Wellard’s business stakeholders and more Australian producers as China’s demand specifications were different to the import requirements of Indonesian and Vietnamese live cattle buyers, which currently take cattle from northern Australia.
“We see this as the start of a long-term relationship with clients in China in the same professional way we have worked closely with our customers in other markets for the past three decades, including establishing ESCAS supply chain integrity with a special emphasis on animal welfare.”
Early this year Elders’ then-subsidiary, the North Australia Cattle Company, shipped Australia’s first vessel to China departing from Portland in Victoria.
Elders had previously freighted live beef cattle in two air shipments to China, as had Ruralco’s Frontier International.